This post was originally written and pusblished on Hi Mum! Said Dad’s Medium page in 2018 - as such, some of the details may be out-of-date
So, you have decided to take the next step in your mobile development career. Whether it is your first role or you are a seasoned industry vet, it can be an anxious time and the interview process for many people gets no easier as time goes on. Thankfully, the team here at Hi Mum Said Dad! have some tips that will help you prepare for the interview process and ensure that you stand a far better chance of getting your role!
These tips stem from our own experience in interviewing candidates and the experiences of our team as candidates within the industry — meaning we believe the tips are some of the most valuable you’ll get within the mobile space!
Smash your CV
Before you even get to the interview stage, you should make sure your CV is up-to-date and polished. If you have apps on the store, make sure you list these and provide links for ease of access, where possible. Your CV should speak in your absence, so make sure you get your passion, achievements and knowledge across. Pass your CV to a friend or trusted colleague to go over it and see what areas they find weak. You should rinse and repeat this process as much as possible and do your best to get your CV sparkling.
Having interviewed over the years, one thing that can often be surprising is potential candidates seemingly not being passionate about mobile development.
Think about what aspects of mobile development make you most excited and talk freely about them. Your interviewer should hopefully share your passion — if not, it might be time to look elsewhere.
Remember, your interviewer has likely never met you before. If you ooze passion in your interview you already are ticking a huge box. Many software companies, including Hi Mum! Said Dad, live and breath mobile. We go to bed thinking of Material Design and wake up after dreaming about CLEAN architecture. If you can demonstrate you are passionate about your profession, you already have a foot through the door! Do not underestimate that.
Download all the apps!
One thing that has always blown our minds is candidates arriving at an interview having already downloaded and played with our apps. It sounds obvious right? All you need to do is make sure you have taken time and interest in the product(s) the company offers to put you on the front foot immediately in an interview situation.
If possible, find the apps on the relevant app stores and go crazy. Sign up, explore and get a feel for what you might be working with.
Nobody will expect you to know a product company’s products inside out, but going to an interview having played around with the apps should have got your creative juices flowing in one way or another. “I liked ABC in your app. I have done something similar in XYZ”, “I thought ABC was cool, how did you achieve that?” are both excellent and stupidly simple ways to engage your interviewer and immediately demonstrate you have made the effort.
Know your stuff
Sadly in these tips we won’t be giving you the answers to common interview questions. Why? Well, hopefully you should already be clued up on your chosen practice! Of course, even some ‘easy’ interview questions can stump the most senior of developers so make sure you take time to revisit the basics and get clued up on everything mobile before an interview.
A good place to start if you’re stumped is your chosen mobile platform’s documentation. At the very least, remind yourself of the basic application lifecycle, how to do work asynchronously the right way and some of the particular nuances of your chosen platform. There’s nothing more embarrassing and off putting than struggling to answer a basic question in an interview situation. Don’t let it happen to you. It is avoidable.
Before an interview, make sure you have written code recently, even if it is throwaway. Having code fresh in your mind will help you in any situation in which you are made to demonstrate your coding prowess.
“Before an interview I liked to create small sample applications that I could use to practise new techniques, use APIs I hadn’t tried before and make sure I knew the fundamentals of Android inside-out. Often job specifications for a role will mention technologies or libraries that the company use or aim to use. I found these throwaway applications the perfect time to either experiment with, or cement my knowledge on those libraries in preparation for an interview. Nine times out of ten, it made a huge difference.” — Ed, Lead Android Developer
Show off your wares
You wouldn’t turn up to a football match without your kit. Why turn up to an interview without an app?!
If you can, make sure you have examples of your previous work to hand. Any interviewer is going to lap up the opportunity to see your work and what you have achieved. Do not be shy, take your interviewer through a demo and even let them play around with it. Talking about the libraries, the app’s architecture, the technical challenges and your solutions is going to make you look great no matter what the content of the application may be. A conscientious interviewer, or one simply with the time to spare, may have already had a chance to download your app. Do not be surprised if questions about your work come up. You’re the expert, so make sure you are prepared.
We have always felt a good interview is a two-way conversation. Going through an interview so it resembles a CSI: Miami interrogation is not likely to set the world on fire or get your phone ringing off the hook. Make sure you ask questions and engage your interviewer. If you are struggling, ask about the company, the product, the interviewer’s role and the team you are joining.
Most interviewers will ask if you have any questions during the conclusion of an interview, so this your opportunity to ask any lingering questions. Make use of it!
If you nailed the interview, some companies will issue a test that looks at your ability to code. The advice we’d always recommend for this is as simple as it gets. Do not cheat. Your interviewer has access to Google too you know! If you do use someone else’s code, it is fine to acknowledge the original author through a comment. It is not fine to pass that code off as your own, unless the code is trivial.
If the code test takes the form of building an application, then this is your time to shine. Show off the best of your abilities and let your code do the talking. Remember most companies nowadays like CLEAN architecture, use of industry best practices and lots and lots of helpful comments.
May the odds be ever in your favour
Good luck! We hope our tips have given you some easy pointers in the right direction. Whilst we can’t guarantee they will get you a job, they are certainly likely to increase your chances.
If this guide has helped, please clap and share. If you have any tips yourself, leave us a comment below — we are always looking to improve our advice!
Hi Mum! Said Dad are hiring!
If you fancy taking our tips for a spin, Hi Mum! Said Dad are currently looking for iOS (Mid-Level) and Android (Mid-Level) developers to join our excellent dev team.
If you are passionate about mobile, we want to hear from you.